Types of Exercise and Their Benefits…

active woman on beachThere are hundreds of different ways you can start getting active but they all come under either one or more of the main four categories of different types of exercise, which are strength, endurance, balance and flexibility.

Each of these types of exercise can benefit you greatly in different ways and you should try to incorporate them all into your daily life in some way. As together they can help you become a healthier and stronger female both mentally and physically.

Endurance

running-573762_640By endurance I don’t mean you need to start training for a marathon or triathlon, it’s just the term that is more commonly referred to as aerobic exercise.

Endurance means the ability to do something for a long time and is built up over time being relative to each different person.

Different types of aerobic exercise can include walking, running, cycling, swimming, dancing to name just a few. It is recommended that you do some type of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes to get the maximum benefits, but if you are just starting out then aim for 10 minutes and see if you can slowly build it up.

Any form of endurance or aerobic exercise uses all the larger muscle groups and as you do it your breathing rate increases and your heart beat will get faster. This means that your blood will flow through your body more quickly and efficiently taking oxygen rich blood to all your muscles and vital organs.

As the oxygenated blood brings all the nutrients your body needs it also helps flush away all the nasty toxins such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid.

Therefore this type of exercise can strengthen your heart, improve the efficiency of your muscles and assist your brain functions.

It can help in burning calories and greatly help to reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer. Regular aerobic exercise can put you in a better mood and even give you a ‘high’ to get you through the day.

Strength

changeThis is a type of exercise that you should definitely try to include in your week and is one of my favourites because of the huge benefits that you can attain from it. I’ve seen from personal experience how incorporating muscle building exercises can drastically change your body shape for the better and rapidly improve your sense of well being.

Many women have the misconception that if they lift weights they will get all muscle bound and lose their feminine look. Our female bodies just don’t work like that as basically we do not have the same hormone set up that men have.

Yes, you can become very muscular as a female but it takes a lot of constant hard work in the gym and a very strict nutritional program to even get on that track.

Strength training exercises can be done just with your body weight such as squats, lunges, press ups or you can actually lift some weights.

Yes, you can start with those little pink weights while you get used to the actual movement of the exercise, but just make sure you leave them well alone once you can easily perform a set.

The key is to gradually increase the weight that you are lifting in order to work the muscles and therefore facilitate growth.

As we get older our muscle strength decreases and our risk of osteoporosis increases, a regular progressive weight strengthening program can help fight these. Also as we increase lean muscle we get stronger so our daily tasks become easier and our metabolism increases, this helps us keep our body fat down.

It’s also beneficial in fighting against heart disease and diabetes and can help towards preventing back pain and reducing the risk of injuries. Plus there is the wonderful feel good factor that comes with strength training regularly, which is a perfect way to combat stress and depression.

Balance

stretchAn essential part in everyday life is balance as without it you wouldn’t be able to walk in a straight line or perform daily tasks.

There are factors that can affect our normal balance drastically such as ear infections, drugs or when you’ve been out celebrating with friends and had a few too many cocktails.

Working on improving your balance can be quite challenging and fun as well – have you tried to stand on one leg for a while without wobbling or having a giggle at your attempts.

Doing exercises related to this part of fitness is a great way to improve your body’s stability, posture, and just how you naturally carry your body. It is also a great way to improve your co-ordination and reaction time so can help prevent slips or falls.

You can improve your balance doing activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, or with a stability ball. A simple way to start is to just stand on one leg and try to hold a pose while holding onto something for support.

When you are in a comfortable position relax, control your breathing and close your eyes and let go of your support to see how long you can stay in that pose. If you do this regularly you will get better at it and can make it more challenging by adding controlled movements.

Flexibility

stretching_and_exercising_205630Stretching is often the exercise that many people just don’t dedicate enough time to. You regularly see someone spending an hour doing an energetic workout and then just a few minutes doing some rudimentary stretches.

Flexibility is actually a really important component of fitness as doing it properly can not only increase your range of motion in all of your joints but can greatly reduce the risk of injury. Taking the time to stretch each of your individual muscles can also greatly improve your recovery time which is even more significant as we get older.

I find it is also a great way to just relax and helps relieve stress, if you hold a stretch breathe deeply and imagine that oxygen is flowing into the muscle you are stretching, it not only lets all the tension out of your body but also energizes you.

Let’s get Moving

So, there are your four main types of fitness now it’s up to you to choose an activity that you could enjoy and find the time to incorporate it into your daily life.

It will soon become part of your normal routine and you will start the reaping all the wonderful benefits that it brings…

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10 Responses

  1. lilywong says:

    after reading your article, i now understand that not all kinds of exercises are the same. it makes sense to do one from each group to reap whole-body benefits from them. i have the most challenge with strength and endurance types of exercises. are there any ways i can do them with less struggle?

    • Emma says:

      Hi there Lilywong,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my post and leave a comment.

      Starting any kind of exercise does seem hard in the beginning, but the more you do it the easier and more addictive it will become.

      There are many different ways to exercise but I find a great way to start working on strength and endurance is going to the gym.
      As a warm-up either jump on the treadmill or bike then you can do exercises for your main body parts, that is legs back and chest.
      Just start with low weight and do 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions – if you haven’t used weights before it is advisable to have a proper
      induction to make sure you the exercise correctly.
      Another great way for females to workout is going to a ladies kickboxing class, these are not only great fun but also really help with
      your strength and endurance.
      Remember whatever exercise you do though to warm up, warm down and stretch those muscles out, because if you don’t you will be sore the next day.
      Good luck on your fitness goals.

  2. Gina says:

    I’m a strength training kind of girl. But I definitely need to work on my flexibility too. The way I am is what you mentioned: The person who spends more of their time actually working out and just a few minutes with stretching. I’d like to change that. Do you have any tips on how to start good stretching and/or yoga?

    • Emma says:

      Hi Gina, first well done on being a strength training girl!

      You don’t need to spend ages on stretching after a good workout – 10 minutes is fine and you will benefit greatly from it.

      Just think about which muscles you have been training and then stretch each of these out. Then slowly go into the stretch until you can feel the tension and hold it for about 30 seconds, remembering to breath! The more you do this the easier it will become and the quicker your muscles will recover.

      If you fancy incorporating yoga into your weekly workouts I’d recommend you go to a structured class for beginners to make sure you learn the positions properly.

      Hope that helps and keep on getting stronger!

  3. Daniella says:

    Hi Emma,

    Great article, I really liked the reading!
    I didn’t know that there was a difference between making exercise and flexibility, It makes sense:)
    I walk every day minimum 40 minutes, but I never work on my flexibility! Now that I’ve read your article I will surely start doing some stretching exercises.
    What would you suggest , stretch before, while walking or after walking?
    Thank you very much!

    • Emma says:

      Hi Daniella,

      Thank you for your lovely feedback and it’s good to hear that you enjoyed reading the article.

      Walking for 40 minutes is a great way to stay fit so well done! You can do some light stretches before your walk to loosen yourself up but I’d concentrate on doing a decent session afterwards. This is when you’re muscles have been worked out and are warm so it’s a great time to work on your flexibility.

  4. Matt's Mom says:

    This was interesting to read about the different types of exercise. I generally do not do any balance or flexibility exercises, and I know I should be. I just started back at working out, and I am in the too sore to do anything phase right now. I can see the benefits you listed, so as soon as this soreness stage goes away, I will start working on balance and flexibility as well:)

    • Emma says:

      Hi Matt’s Mom,

      It’s great to hear that you have started working out again and found the article useful.

      Stretching will actually help with the recovery of your muscles and reduce the amount of soreness that you feel in the day or two after a good training session. You should consider doing some stretching and working on your flexibility after each workout as you will feel the benefits.

  5. Shailie says:

    Hi, Emma, great article for women ourselves!
    I do yoga and jogging everyday. Yoga demandes a lot of balance and flexibility, so it’s gonna be very tough sometimes. For the jogging, not much people can stick to do it eveyday, which really challenges your endurance. After reading your article, i think i should do some workouts for the strength part, cuz my arms are weak and tiny.

    Thanks a lot!

    Shailie

    • Emma says:

      Hi Shailie,

      Yes you are right yoga is a great exercise for balance and flexibility, it can also be used to build up a strong core and strengthen other parts of the body.

      But, If you want to get more muscle tone and strength in your arms then you do want to think about do some exercises with weights. Just start with some light weights until you have the proper form for each exercise and gradually increase them. It won’t take long until you will start to see a difference – good luck!

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